Distance: 438 kilometers
Riding Time: 9:30 am – 3:30pm
Temps: Low 10 (morning in WL) / High 22 ( Late in afternoon WH)
Today was a much shorter day in comparison with the first three days. Perfect timing, too. I needed to slow down the pace and not burn out early in the trip – there are still plenty of kilometers left to ride.
Slept in until 7am this morning. Had a relaxing start with a good breakfast to start the day off right. Watson Lake hasn’t got a lot of amenities. It’s basically a village with one street and only a handful of businesses. “Kathy’s” had a decent deal for an omelette and was open early enough to have a meal before we set off.
The accommodations last night were excellent. $69/night for a double. It was clean, the management, a guy named Michael was superb. He was helpful, friendly and a good ambassador for the north. A german immigrant that moved to Canada in the nineties. He’s passionate about Canada in general and was happy to talk about our travels. I highly recommend staying at the Air Force Lodge that has been remodeled – excellent value.
Once again, Chris, the Californian, rode with me today. We ended up following several other bikes on and off throughout the day on the way to Whitehorse. A group of two on KLRs and a couple on a Goldwing would stop and chat at rest stops or gas stations. You meet some really friendly folks while traveling on motorcycle – a pretty closely knit group.
The road today was easy going and quite scenic. It’s an endless parade of broad vistas and mountain ranges. I can really get a sense of just how vast the land is up here. I also continue to be amazed by the very first explorers of this land and just how treacherous and dangerous their journeys must have been. The forests are jam-packed with trees of every sort and so dense you can see no more than a few feet in.
The beauty is so continuous and endless that it defies a photographer to capture it. I could spend hours and hours taking pictures of every few kilometers along the way. Unfortunately, the vastness prevents stops for too long or I’d never make any ground at all.
Upon arriving at Whitehorse we both set up camp. The weather was very threatening and looked like a storm of epic proportions. Yet, by the time we set up it blew over and it’s been quite nice. The first camping experience for me in many years. It’s a little campground just outside of the town of Whitehorse – The Robert Service Campground. Kinda a little hippy commune – very quirky, nice and clean and dirt cheap – $18.00 a night.
With all the weight that I’m carrying the rear tire is not going to make the entire trip. I’ll have to schedule rest days in Anchorage or Fairbanks to get some new rubber mounted on the bike. I guess this is a lesson in packing much lighter, although I’ve taken only what I need to be safe. It’s a pretty careful balance I guess. A new set of tires in Alaska should just get me back to Calgary. Crazy, eh?
As I sit now I wind down, relax and had a short walk along the river front. A great vacation riding day. Tomorrow is a shorter day again with a journey off to Tok and making my way towards the western parts of Alaska. I’m really looking forward to this part of the trip.